The Perfect Meal

Sometimes it's a club talk. Sometimes it's a club sandwich.

Heath Sizick, an area director in West Virginia, knows even a lunchtime conversation with a high-school kid can be eternally life changing.

After each club, students at Elkins High School go to the local McDonald's. It was there Sizick would engage in quick, friendly conversations with a student named Ryan.

However, Ryan wasn't a club kid. A left-handed pitcher and first baseman on the Elkins Tigers' sectional-winning baseball team, Ryan was a restaurant employee. For him, the after-club hang-out at McDonald's meant rushing around taking the orders of his school friends.

"He was our cashier," said Sizick, who first met Ryan at a bonfire after an Elkins baseball game. "Every time after club he'd get my sweet tea and sundae and my Monopoly pieces. I just started talking to him."

When Ryan left his job, Sizick started seeing him around a lot more often. Ryan started hanging out more with his friend, James, who was in Campaigners. It came at a perfect time for Ryan, who was going through a rough season in life. He was using the party scene to deal with the stress in his life.

"I realized that's not what I wanted to do," said Ryan, who had started making his way to club and Campaigners. "I called Heath up one day. We went and grabbed lunch, and I told him everything that was happening."

Ryan didn't know it at the time, but that Subway lunch with his Young Life leader would change the trajectory of his life.

Sizick asked Ryan a series of questions, trying to gauge Ryan's spiritual background. Realizing his high-school friend had a pretty limited exposure to the Bible, (Ryan didn't know the infant in nativity scenes was Jesus, nor did he understand why Christians celebrated Easter), Sizick gave his high-school friend a 10-minute overview of the Bible's redemptive story.

"He basically broke down the Bible a little bit, starting with Adam and Eve," Ryan said.

From Sizick's viewpoint, he was wondering how much of Scripture's grand narrative a high-school kid could absorb in 10 minutes. Sizick had gone from creation to the ascension, hitting the fall, the law, atonement, and other doctrines along the way.

The verse Ecclesiastes 3:11 — where Solomon proclaims God has set eternity in the hearts of men — helped Sizick place his confidence in the Gospel.

"In my mind, I'm thinking, ‘This is too much information,'" Sizick said. "I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, ‘He does understand this, because he was made to understand this.' I relayed the same thing to Ryan. ‘You understand this, because you were made to understand it.'"

Sizick closed the meeting with Ryan by explaining how to receive Christ's offer of salvation and then praying for him. Moments later, Sizick received the call that is every Young Life leader's favorite phone call to receive.

It was Ryan on the line, explaining he had given his life to Christ.

Ryan has gone from serving his high school after club, to serving the spiritual needs of the classmates before, during and after club. The pitcher best known for his change-up has been changed up by Christ.

"Me and another girl at our school, we're deputies [senior leaders] for Young Life at our school," Ryan said. "We talk about what we're going to do at club. We try to help other people make that decision to follow Christ."